Companies know that in order to attract and keep customers you have to deliver great customer service. Yet when a company does deliver exceptional service, they stand out among the many in their industry that fall short. How many times do customers go through a transaction at the check-out without even a “hello” or never make eye contact with the check-out person? Or worse, they have to stand there while he is busy talking to other co-workers or to a friend on his cell phone?
Companies spend a lot of money on branding, advertising, catchy slogans and promotions to draw customers into the stores or online to shop. Their top executives earn six-figure salaries (or more). Yet the people who are closest to the customers earn far less. These individuals are most often the only “face” of the company the customers ever sees and have the greatest impact on personal perception and customer loyalty.
So when a CEO comes out and publicly attributes customer service to the company’s success (and a hefty increase in the company’s stock price), it’s a great day for any customer service worker. The CEO of Publix did just that in an article reported in Retailing Today. In fact, he credited customer service for boosting the company’s stock price 33 percent over the last year and a 5.6 percent increase in sales over last year’s $6.7 billion.
That’s a lot of “hellos” from checkout staff, and smiles and eye contact. It’s a lot of care and concern from baggers, who offer to carry out groceries for every customer (no you don’t have to be old to get that service). It’s a lot of managers and supervisors around the store looking to assist some bewildered customer looking for some obscure item. It’s the meat cutters and produce managers and the bakery staff. Don’t forget those deli workers who offer you a perfect slice of whatever you ordered so you can taste and approve your selection before you buy.
Forbes revealed the secrets to Publix’s success with a statement from it’s CEO, Ben Crenshaw. He said that of the three ways to differentiate, Publix puts customer service first, quality second and price third. This family-owned company has a reputation for advancing from within. And, being the largest employee-owned company, employees are also stockholders. What employee wouldn’t be motivated to give his/her best when the payoff comes in stock bonuses increased stock value?
Recognition and appreciation are great motivators. In announcing the stock price increase, CEO Ed Crenshaw gave the credit to Publix associates, who “…continue to deliver premier customer service, the key to our success.” Recognition, appreciation, a share in the company’s financial success adds up to employee loyalty, company success and happy customers.
Photo Source: Freedigitalphotos.net: Teerapun